(Let’s be clear – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) recommitted this week to force a House vote to temporarily protect Dreamers from deportation, if there is no legislative fix by March 5, when the program’s phaseout under Trump is complete.
Coffman told reporters Tuesday he’d revive his so-called discharge petition, which is a parliamentary mechanism for forcing a House vote, after putting it on hold last September at the request of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who did not want Coffman’s effort to coincide with other pro-Dreamer bills.
Coffman is not promising to force a vote on the Dream Act, which would not only allow Dreamers to work and avoid deportation but also offer them a pathway to citizenship. It’s a permanent solution.
The bill that Coffman is promising to push after March 5 is called the Bridge Act, which would protect Dreamers who are already enrolled in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It’s a legislative version of what Obama did for the Dreamers and Trump torpedoed. It’s temporary, with limited protections lasting three years.
As such, Coffman wants to extend Obama’s temporary Dreamer-protection program, which Obama put in place after Congress refused to agree on a permanent fix, like the Dream Act.
Last week, Coffman said he would not support the Dream Act because it is “unrealistic,” even though Coffman voted numerous times for Hail-Mary legislation, including Obamacare repeals, that were widely considered unrealistic at the time. Still, he remains a co-sponsor of the Dream Act.
Coffman said in Septermber he’d sign a discharge petition for the Dream Act. Why the legislation is “unrealistic” now isn’t clear.
Ironically, during Obama’s term, Coffman helped kill the bill that’s come closest to solving the Dreamer problem, and that was the comprehensive immigration reform bill, passed by a bipartisan 68-32 senate vote in 2013. The legislation, which died in the U.S. House, would have protected the Dreamers from deportation and put them on an expedited road to citizenship.
Coffman, along with then U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) both opposed allowing the bipartisan bill, with the Dreamer provisions and much more, to even come up for a vote in the GOP-controlled House. The Denver Post reported that “no Colorado House Republican” supported the bill.
Coffman told The Denver Post he’ll begin collecting signatures to force a vote on the Bridge Act March 5, when DACA expires.